Meet the Planning Committee
Soha Hmaidan is currently the Chief Advancement Officer at King’s Academy, a day and boarding independent school for grades 7-12 in Jordan. In her role, Hmaidan is responsible for leading fundraising efforts, advancement services, alumni relations, and parent engagement to help King’s Academy successfully launch its campaign in support of the school’s strategic priorities and to ensure financial sustainability.
Prior to King’s, Hmaidan was Associate Vice President for Advancement Services and University Events at American University of Beirut (AUB), a position she last held for over 22 years. With a diversified experience in higher education and independent boarding schools, Hmaidan brings best practices in advancement strategies and operations, international fundraising, and campaign planning and execution, in addition to good prospect research and donor relations, bridging different cultures of advancement, between west and east, and the United States and the Middle East.
Hmaidan holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from AUB and is a certified professional in human resources and compensation.
Salma Dannawi Oueida
Salma Dannawi Oueida is associate vice president for development, alumni relations, and university events at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and an AUB alumna with both an Executive MBA and a bachelor of electrical and communication engineering.
She began her career at AUB in 2003 as associate director of development. Since then, she has been steadily promoted and taken on additional responsibilities. She was appointed senior director of development in 2015; associate vice president for development and alumni relations in 2016; and, most recently, associate vice president for development, alumni relations, and university events in 2022. She has extensive experience in organizational management, fundraising, business development, alumni relations, and event planning and a proven track record at establishing and building relationships with high-net-worth individuals, corporations and foundations, alumni, and volunteer groups.
During her career, Ms. Oueida has set records in fundraising and alumni engagement and launched new fundraising and alumni engagement programs and initiatives for AUB’s seven faculties and the AUB Medical Center (AUBMC). She manages the university’s relationship with its alumni community outside North America and works closely with some of AUB’s most successful volunteer groups to develop valuable and mutually rewarding partnerships. Oueida played an instrumental role in both AUB’s Campaign for Excellence (2002-07) and in AUB’s current $650 million fundraising campaign: BOLDLY AUB: The Campaign to Lead, Innovate, and Serve.
Oueida has consulted about establishing offices of development and alumni relations with many educational institutions in the Gulf and MENA region including Ahfad University in Sudan and Mohammed Al-Mana College for Medical Sciences in Saudi Arabia.
She is a two-time member of the Planning Committee for the CASE Advancement Committee in Middle East that took place in Dubai in February 2020 and the upcoming conference in Abu Dhabi in February 2024. Oueida is on the board of several NGOs including “Nusaned” and is a member of “the Lebanese League for Women in Business”. She is also a member of the 2023 Takreem Selection Board and a member of the Lebanese Order of Engineers and Architects.
In 2010, Ms. Oueida received the President’s Service Excellence Award, a prestigious distinction which is given to a select number of AUB staff members each year “who have shown continuous outstanding performance over a long period of time and have gone beyond the call of duty in helping students, patients, and fellow employees.”
John D. Pine
John D. Pine is the Director of Alumni Relations & Annual Giving at NYU Abu Dhabi, where he works to engage the unique and talented population of NYUAD alumni all over the world. Prior to joining the team at NYUAD, he served as the Director of Outreach & Alumni Programs for NYU (New York), managed Alumni Relations for the Goizueta Business School at Emory University in Atlanta, GA and at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA. John is a native Bostonian who received his Bachelor of Arts from Bridgewater State College (University) and his Master of Education from the University of Georgia.
Walid A. Katergi, CFRE
Walid A. Katergi joined the Office of Development at the American University of Beirut in 2003. He currently serves as Associate Vice President for Development. He earned his CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) in December 2012 - the first to obtain such a certification in the Arab World.
Walid fundraises for all faculties of the American University of Beirut (www.aub.edu.lb), a 151 year old prestigious American institution of higher learning in Beirut, Lebanon that includes a 300-bed quaternary care Medical Center. In addition, he manages a team of fundraisers based in Lebanon, and works closely with the team in New York that fundraises in the Americas.
Syed Bashir is an experienced Advancement and Fundraising professional with over 16 years of experience. His expertise includes setting up Advancement Services and implementing best practices in Database Management, Prospect Research and Gift Processing. Syed’s portfolio includes working through two successful Capital Campaigns, Database Migration and the implementation of a Data Governance Committee at the University of Central Florida - the largest public university in the US.
Having lived in various countries, Syed has a strong understanding of the cultural and social perspectives of the philanthropic practices both in the Middle East and the US. Since 2013, Syed has been part of the University Development team at the prestigious King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), where he has headed multiple roles ranging from Fundraising to Advancement Operations.
Gabriel Abiad is the Assistant Vice President for Strategic Communications at the Lebanese American University (LAU) in Lebanon. He is a seasoned communications professional with decades of experience in the corporate and public sectors, nationally and internationally. Gabriel served as strategic planner and then Associate General Manager at FP7 (part of McCann Worldgroup), one of Lebanon's leading advertising agencies, and as marketing director for McDonald's Lebanon. He has developed national campaigns for governments in Canada, working for communications agencies in Ottawa. He has taught marketing strategy at LAU. Gabriel holds a Graduate Diploma in Education from Concordia University, an MBA and a BS in Liberal Arts from LAU.
Dalia Abubakr is the Senior Director of Digital Communications at the American University in Cairo (AUC). She has more than 25 years of experience in web communications, with a focus on web writing, information architecture, analytics, optimization and digital accessibility. Her experience also includes strategic planning for content marketing. She is an inclusion advocate and a member in the advisory board of Helm Egypt organization for empowering people with disability. She is certified in digital accessibility by the World Wide Web Consortium – W3C and in web analytics for higher education by the Higher Education Experts organization.
Dalia earned her bachelor's degree in English language with high honors. She is also a holder of graduate diploma in Arabic Studies with a specialization in Islamic Studies from The American University in Cairo. She won the Stellar Speaker award at the Conference for Advancement and Support of Education- MEAC- 2018.